She had to relearn truthfulness, a day at a time, much the way the victim of a serious stroke might have to relearn speech.

This is a recovery story that makes a valid point about the degree to which someone will go to conceal  addiction from the rest of the world.

Quote: “For over a decade I spent half my waking hours acquiring and using drugs, and the other half trying to hide that fact.”

Why the preoccupation with secrecy? It’s self-evident. Some drugs are illegal, and even where they’re not, drug use is rarely something people boast about. If you’re too open about your drug use, those around you might decide to step in and put a stop to it.

Scary thought, huh? For some, it’s terrifying.

All this secrecy and concealment can do almost as much damage to the psyche as addiction itself. Considerable distortion of reality is required. Witness the woman who admits to hiding bottles of vodka all over her apartment, even though she lives alone. Or the man who paid a friend in Bucharest to mail weekly postcards to his aged mother, pretending to be her son, just so she’d think he was on special assignment  for the government. Rather than drunk in a flat three miles away.

“I was positive that any psychiatrist who examined me would immediately reach for commitment papers. So I resolved to stay away from those quacks,” joked one man. Another threat: visits to the family doctor. As a result, patients are likely to be in worse shape when they do finally wind up in the hospital.

In terms of eventual recovery, this ‘habit of hiding’ means a return to honesty in recovery can be a real challenge. “I think I had forgotten how to tell the truth,” a woman explained. It had been too long. She had to relearn truthfulness, much the way a victim of a stroke might have to relearn speech.

More from the author: “[Addiction] requires walls be erected between an addict’s using and non-using lives. Until it almost destroyed me, my addictions only rarely disturbed the neighbors. Very few people got to see much of the picture, and nobody ever got to see the whole thing (and I include myself in that).”

Might be worth reading.


1 Comment »

Hello Scott, I always enjoy your posts; however, this one really rings true. The sad part is that many folks are as secretive about their recovery. Some seem equally as paranoid about someone finding they are no longer using as they were that someone would find out that they are using. Unfortunately, devoting this much time to covering up their substance use disorder may impede recovery.

Comment by Dave Reazin — August 23, 2019 @ 6:38 am

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